Goodguys: Lil Nate March Meet preview

Orange, CA - The 47th annual March Meet event presented by Clay Smith Cams will showcase over 500 1972 and earlier vintage cars and racers at Auto Club Famoso Raceway this weekend in Bakersfield, California. It will be the season opener for the...

Orange, CA - The 47th annual March Meet event presented by Clay Smith Cams will showcase over 500 1972 and earlier vintage cars and racers at Auto Club Famoso Raceway this weekend in Bakersfield, California. It will be the season opener for the GoodGuys nostalgia drag racing series, the biggest race of the year and it marks the Lil Nate Nostalgia Funny Car team's ninth consecutive appearance.

This event is considered by fans to be a mecca like pilgrimage with crowds of over 50,000 expected to flood Bakersfield for this historical race. The Lil Nate funny car team also eagerly anticipates this event, as it sets the tone for the rest of the racing season. It was at this very event in 1997, at the 39th March Meet that Li'l Nate Bugg and his father, 'Bugsy' debuted their funny car, at that time competing in the Nostalgia Eliminator 1 class. In the years since, Bugsy has groomed his 'East Side Gang' crew and transitioned the funny car over to nitro and the team now competes in the Nostalgia Funny Car class. The class itself is relatively new, with this being the third year, but these funny cars have already created quite an interest and fan base. At the 2004 March Meet, there were 6 funny cars competing. In 2005, there were 10 funny cars. This weekend, as many as 18 are expected to show up and compete for a spot in the 8 car field. Lil Nate qualified #1 at the 2004 event, destroyed their motor qualifying their new car in 2005, and is looking to re-assert themselves here in 2006.

The qualifying bump last year was 7.07 seconds and the top qualifier ran 6.29 seconds. Lil Nate's best elapsed time(ET) at this track is a 6.21. Nate is ready for the challenge, stating "The competition will be as stiff as we have ever seen, with many cars going home early. Even with 18 cars in the pits, there are still only 8 spots on race day. I am confident that we will be in the show on Sunday. I think low ET will be in the 6.0's and number eight could be a 6.30 something. And we only have two shots at qualifying this year, whereas in past events we had three. The Nitro Funny Car class has graduated and continues to grow in both talent and size." Last year's funny car championship and current record holder team has reorganized and their new car is as yet, unproven. The field is wide open.

The 47th annual March Meet will open at 8 am on Friday, March 10 and continue thru Sunday, March 12. The funny cars will have one qualifying pass on Friday afternoon, one qualifying pass on Saturday morning and then eliminations will be on Sunday. Tickets are available at the event only.

-lil nate-

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Series Vintage